NC Courage Remain Unbeaten In NWSL Tournament After Win Over Sky Blue

Jul 14, 2020

NC Courage midfielder Crystal Dunn sprints back on defense during a 2019 home contest against the Houston Dash at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
Credit Mitchell Northam / WUNC

Samantha Mewis and Crystal Dunn each scored and the North Carolina Courage won their fourth straight game, beating Sky Blue 2-0 on Monday night in the National Women's Soccer League's Challenge Cup in Herriman, Utah.

The two-time league defending champions finished the group stage atop the field heading into the quarterfinals.

Mewis scored in the seventh minute for the fastest goal of the Challenge Cup so far. After the ball bounced around the penalty area following a corner kick, Mewis rifled a close-range left-footed shot past Sky Blue’s keeper.

"Continuing to be dangerous on those set pieces is going to be key for us," Mewis said. "We switched it up and it went in."

Dunn added her first goal of the tournament in the 57th minute, finishing off a feed from Lynn Williams. Both Mewis and Dunn were starters on the U.S. national team that won the World Cup last summer in France.

The Courage lead the tournament in goals scored with seven. They've allowed just one.

Against Sky Blue, the Courage put eight shots on-target while their opponent mustered just one. Defensively, Denise O'Sullivan led the way with three tackles while Abby Erceg notched an 87.8% passing accuracy from centerback.

North Carolina forward Jessica McDonald came in as a substitute in the 64th minute, her first appearance of the tournament after nursing a right thigh injury. Defender Lindsay Agnew made her Courage debut in the 81st minute.

It was the final group match of the eight-team tournament. Results of the opening stage determined seeding for the knockout round.

The league's ninth team, the Orlando Pride, withdrew from the Challenge Cup before it started after several players tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sky Blue finished the opening stage 1-2-1 and in seventh place.

The Courage will play the winless Portland Thorns in the quarterfinals on Friday at 12:30 p.m. EST. The game can be streamed live on CBS All Access.